Forget Wealth And Neighborhood. The Racial Income Gap Persists

A new study conducted by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, finds that in 99 percent of neighborhoods in the United States, black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. This undermines the widely-held belief that class, not race, is the most fundamental predictor of economic outcomes for children in the U.S.

The study looked at racial disparities in income over generations by looking at de-identified data from 20 million U.S. children and their parents. It tracked outcomes for Hispanic, white, Asian, black and Native Americans.

Nathaniel Hendren, who co-authored the study, told NPR’s Leah Donnella that black and Native American children have the lowest rates of upward economic mobility. Whites and Asians came out at the top, he said. “For Asians and white children, we find very similar processes of mobility,” Hendren said. “For Hispanics, we see slightly lower incomes for children at the same level of parent income.”